Wednesday, November 7, 2012

This is NOT a Political Post

You're back? Really?
After my last and most stupid post, I figured that no one come around these parts no more.
Heck, I wouldn't blame you.

Please, let me explain.
I had to barf that post out. It was stuck in the creative pipeline (such as it is) and was blocking the free flow of other ideas. Ideas that hopefully will be better written, funnier, and maybe a little easier to read.
One can hope.

My husband thinks that I should write a book. Actually, my husband thinks that I should write several books. But he thinks that one of them should be a book about all kinds of random things that I do and say.
You know, me in book form. Sometimes serious, sometimes funny, always know-it-all, and always making something in the kitchen.
I take this as a compliment from him, that he thinks that I am so great that everyone should have a piece of me on their coffee table (apparently my book would also have vulgar, double entendre undertones too).
But a book? Really?
I prefer lists. This is very weird because in real life, I don't make lists.
I am the person wandering around the grocery store looking at everything and talking to myself, because I am trying to remember everything that I need to get. Oh, and humming because that is my happy little stim that happens (without me even noticing) every single time I enter the grocery store. Hardware store? Nope. Bookstore? I don't think so. Just grocery stores.

Anyway. Enough about me. Let's talk about you.
And more specifically, things that you should not do.
(Pssst... this is a chapter that my husband thinks I should have in my book. The one that no one would buy.)


1. Let's start with something really obvious. Do not microwave hot dogs. Personally, I do not have a microwave, nor do I eat hot dogs. But, I understand that is not the case for many people. So, if you do have a microwave and feel that it is just fine for cooking, listen up. And if you do eat hot dogs and feel that eating pig lips swirled around and chopped up with beef anus (sorry) is just fine for eating, listen up. Each of these things on their own is questionable, at best! But to do both? Over the line.

2. Even if it is Halloween, no one wants to see a sexy Big Bird. While we are at it, sexy cop, sexy nurse, sexy grim reaper, etc. are all so, so, I don't know - obvious? Sexy Bigfoot? I might cut you a little slack. Particularly if you moved in a very mercurial fashion.

3. You should never jack up a car or truck so that it is taller than a house. No, not even a rambler.

4. Unless you are very tall and willowy or are Nicole Richie, do not wear a maxi dress. Just trust me on this.

5. While we are on women's fashion, very few people can wear those super long, bulky sweaters. And no, they are not hiding anything. I mean no disrespect to you, if you happen to like them. Heck, you should see what I am wearing right now.

6. Under no circumstances should you ever click on any of those links in the Penis Enlargement, CiALi$ Cheap!, Hot seXXXy wife Looking 4 FUN! emails. Do not do it! I know, I know. Your curiosity is getting you. You just want to see where the link goes. But, once you click, you will open up Dante's Tenth Level of Hell. Yes, it is true. Even Dante did not know about this circle. That is because they didn't have email back then. There is no precedence for this. Do not do it!

7. Campbell's Cream of _________ soup should not get mixed with pork chops chicken or {gasp} SPAM, and put in a crockpot. Especially if you also throw in some Velveeta or Cheez-Wiz.


8. Finally, if you have not ever watched an episode of Lost (What? That is crazy talk, right there), Breaking Bad, Weeds, or Sons of Anarchy, don't start now. Do not casually add the series to your Netflix queue and think that you will just watch an episode every now and then. We both know what will happen. You will get sucked into the vortex of no control. You will watch and watch and watch until your eyes fall out. You will not be satisfied until you have exhausted every. last. episode. possible.
Or maybe that's just me.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Most Convoluted Post Ever

I have a confession.
I like confessing.
That was one confession.
Another one is that even though I saw not one, but two Sasquatch, I am not really sure that I believe it.

Click here to read about it.

But now, because I reported it to the Bigfoot Research Group, and then they called me, and then they agreed that I had seen a Bigfoot, and now I have a confirmed Class A sighting; I feel like I should really believe.
But I am not sure that I do.

I think, more than anything, I just believe in the possibility. Because when I get down to brass tacks (whatever that means), I think that most anything is possible. Lots of things are quite unlikely, but possible.
Like Elvis being alive.
Unlikely, but possible.

*******Errrrrrttttt********
 (that was supposed to read as the sound of a needle scratching across a record)

       ((needle? record? what's that?))

Just when I was getting ready to ditch this whole blog post for fear that I had gone a teeny bit too far in my kookiness (which I am hoping is a loveable kookiness, as opposed to a crazy cat lady kookiness)...
This comes flying down the old superinformation highway at breakneck speed!

It appears as though I am not alone.
In what?
Yes, that is a good question.
Maybe I am not alone in seeing bears and thinking they are, um, Bigfoot?

In any case, I would like to know what you think.
Time for your confession.
Believe?
Don't Believe?


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Seventy - Four

Am I back? I think that maybe I am. At least for now. We'll see how this all works out this time around.
Let me start from the beginning.
Hi. This is my bloggedy blog.
You may notice from the byline of the title that I reserve the right to write about pretty much whatever.
The things that I write are just my own thoughts, poems, ideas, feelings and jokes. I am not a doctor, a psychologist, a politician, a pastor, a stand-up comedian, or a lumberjack. But I may be a little bit strange and opinionated. And I most likely overuse commas.
So, I think that covers it. Let's get started.

You maybe came here thinking that I was going to write about my interview with the Bigfoot Research people. It's true! I saw not just one, but two, Big foot (Bigfeet?). But my broadcast has been preempted my this important message. Because time is of the essence here.

Unless you live in the woods, oh wait - that's me. Unless you live in a cave, you probably know that it is election time. Now, there is absolutely no way that I am going to even write anything about the two main candidates. Or even the other candidates that got the shaft. Nope.
But instead, I am going to write about an initiative (or is it a referendum?) that is on the ballot in Washington. Maybe it is on the ballot where you live too.

Is it legalize marijuana? We should, but that isn't it.
No, I am going to write about gay marriage.
I am voting that the bill should be approved. And I hope that you are too.

Does that surprise you? Maybe it does if you know me (like actually know me, not just the cyber me). Although even then it shouldn't.
I am a Christian. But I really hesitate to use that word.
Not because I am ashamed of Christ, so don't even go there. But because I am ashamed of what the connotations of the word Christian have become.
Intolerant.
Hateful.
Mean.
Rigid.
Close-minded.
Please do not get me wrong. I am not calling you that, dear Christian friends. No. But I am saying that some of our actions as a whole would definitely deserve these labels.

Not that long ago, on a long drive in the middle of nowhere, I was trying to find a radio station that would come in. I tuned in on one that happened to be broadcasting a pastor from some big church somewhere in Chicago, I think. I am not completely sure what his message was actually about. But it included some story about a gay politician. And this story that this pastor was telling was very condemning and not nice.
It made me bristle.
It made me ashamed.
It made me angry.

There's this story in the bible. A story about Jesus. It includes words that Jesus actually spoke.
There is no possibility for poor translation between languages. It is pretty straighforward.
It goes like this:
There are these guys called Pharisees. They are super religious - all about laws and regulations and being over-the-top holy. Perhaps you know them?
They don't like Jesus - yeah, that Jesus. You know, the son of God. This seems a little weird already, huh?
The super religious God guys don't like the son of God?
Anyhow.
They were always trying to trick Jesus and try to trip him up.
So, one day they bring to him this woman.
She was guilty of adultery, which back then was punishable by death (just the woman, btw). And not just any death, but by stoning. Do you want to get the feel for how awful a stoning is?
You should watch The Stoning of Soraya M. - which is a true story and is completely horrifying.
This is what those pharisees wanted to do to this woman that they brought to Jesus.
So, what does he do? Does he publicly spew hatred? Does he pelt her with rocks? Does he spit on her and call her names? No. He calmly and quietly tells them that whoever among them that is sinless should go ahead and throw the first stone. And eventually they all left.

So, here is my point with all of this. Even if you believe that homosexuality is a sin, like the pastor that I heard on the radio, unless you are without any sin of your own, you should keep your stones to yourself. And not a single one of us qualifies. Words, my friends, are stones.
Even that saying that is tossed around "hate the sin, love the sinner". That sounds pretty hurtful to me.

So back to my original topic.
Why should you vote yes?
1. Love.
2. Even if you believe being gay is a sin, what does gay marriage have to do with you and your marriage?
3. Equal rights for all people.

To me, it seems pretty simple.
Somehow we have made two people that love each other and want to have equal rights this huge deal. It shouldn't be. We should instead make love a huge deal.

Welp. That was it. My return blog post.
Comments?
Keep it nice.








Thursday, February 2, 2012

Au Revoir, Pee Wee


I know, I know. I just left without saying a word.
I thought that I might come back, and I tried. Really. I did try.
But, I think you and me and this blog are over.
I have pondered what happened and why. And yesterday it came to me.
It has to do with friendships, a need for deep connection, and change.

I moved to the middle of the woods 4 years ago.
I didn't know anyone here and at the same time, many of my friends from my former life began falling away.
I soon found myself so lonely that I didn't even recognize it.
Out of this emptiness and pain, I began to write.
And my writing became my friend.
I was able to write about everything that I would share with a true friend. The type of friendship that I craved, one that was deeper than drinks once a month or conversations while everyone texts.

Don't get me wrong here. There is a place for casual friendships, drinks and even texting. But, I learned that I wanted more than that. And I learned that through the silence, through the loneliness, through writing and through time spent only with my Creator.

And through all of those things, I became comfortable with myself and what I really wanted. I became comfortable being transparent and winnowing out the things that were poisoning me. Much like a farmer burning a field or pruning back trees or vines.

And then something happened. I began making friends in my new home.
It began with one or two. Then more.
My heart filled to the bursting point.
And my old friend, writing, just didn't call me and want to have coffee with me anymore.
I will always write, but probably not as a blogger.
But who knows?
Writing this blog saved me, along with the people that extended kindness to me along the way.

I was going to close this baby on up with a final stand on my soapbox.
But instead, I'll leave you with that other side of my personality.
Au revoir.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Love You, Man


God's definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love. — Francis Chan

There you go.

I read this today on Facebook, where I get 50% of my information. Okay, who am I fooling? 75%.

Anyhow, the absolute truth of it continues to resonate deep within me, sending waves to every cell within my body and then deeper to my soul.

Love.

In word and in deed.

Indeed.

When I match up the things that I say and do up to the standard of love, how do I fare?

If my beliefs and my values do not speak love, they should be discarded as worthless. As trash. As lies.

Love.

So simple, yet we try to make it so much more complicated.

Love.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cure-all


'Tis the season for it. You know what I am talking about - getting run down.
Too many late nights. Too much rushing here and then there.
It takes a toll on us, wears us down.
And then, BAM! Next thing you know, you have a sore throat or stuffy nose.
Miserable.

What if I told you about a little secret?
And I'm not talking about swigging some nasty green pharmaceutical and then falling into a medicine stupor.
My little Cure-All Remedy comes from my grandma, Gladys Bell Ennis Verquin.
Now, before I fill you in on the secret remedy, I need to tell you about my grandma.
She was born in 1902 and lived in Frank, Alberta where a mountain fell on top of her. But she survived.
She was a tough little bird.
And little she was, hitting a maximum height of 4'11" (she always said 5'0", but she was just fudging).
At the age of 16, she became the bride of a 44 year old rancher, by way of an arranged marriage. Not long after the birth of their first and only child, her husband died, leaving her to run the ranch alone.
Now, I am not going to give you all the blow-by-blow details, but I think you get the idea about what kind of woman my grandma was. She was tough, she knew what was good for ya, but she was also tender and sweet.

My cousins and I recently were together on Thanksgiving, and we reminisced about the remedy that our grandmother gave us for various ailments. We all agreed that it worked for pretty much everything from colds and flu to stomach aches. I have been known to drink it before riding in the car over an icy and snowy mountain pass.
It doesn't have a formal name, so you can just call it Grandma's Recipe.

2 T local honey
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 shots Irish whiskey
Boiling water

Mix together with your face over the steam, inhaling as you stir.
Adjust amounts to taste, but it should be strong.
Go to bed and you'll wake up well.

*Note* My cousin recalls butter in the recipe. It couldn't hurt.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful


I love Thanksgiving. Just love it.
I love the family, friends, food, and the idea that as a nation we are collectively being thankful.
Now, it is pretty easy to be thankful for the standard things. And I am. Supremely thankful.
But, can you also be thankful for the more, uh, odd things?
Let's see...

Family
I thank God every day for my husband and sons. They are easy to be thankful for.
How about my mother-in-law? Yup. Thankful for her too.
Even though she has refused to come to Thanksgiving at our house and will instead stay home alone.
Why?
Bears.
She is afraid of bears.
According to her, they can break down doors, you know.
I think someone has watched a little too much Animal Planet.

Am I thankful for my own mother? Eh, okay.
This one is a little tougher.
I am thankful that I'm not like her.
Oh wait, I am trying to be thankful for her.
How about, I am thankful for her occasional reminder of how I am not like her?
Heh.

Health
I am one healthy person. I am always thankful that I don't get colds or the flu. Seriously, once I went 10 years without getting a cold. That is some record. Thankful.

But let me tell you, you don't know thankful until you've had some Herpes 1 (that's on your lips, people) clear up. For crying out loud, I don't know how people that have the other kind stop from castrating themselves. It must be horrible (if you do happen to have it, you have my sincerest of sympathies and all the compassion I can muster up).

Now, back to being thankful.
I had an outbreak for 9 MONTHS, with the exception of the time we were in Costa Rica, where it magically went away. Except for 9 months, I had no idea what it was. I had had it once before a long time ago. Back in the day of wearing blood red, matte lipstick. I had just thought that I developed an allergy to the lipstick.
But then 20 years later it shows up again.
For 9 months I endured blisters, pus, cracking and the most chapped lips of all time.
And for those of you that saw me and wondered what was up with those nasty chapped lips, well now you know.
Then I finally went to see my doctor.
Herpes.
Got some meds and BAM! Cleared up.
I am so thankful that I could cry.
P.S. I am pretty sure that I know where I got it, and if I ever see you again, sucker, I will kick you in the balls.
P.P.S. Also thankful that no one else in my family got it.

Food, Shelter, Clothing
This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for these things. We came thisclose to losing our house, and I know that many people out there cannot say the same thing. I am thankful that we have enough good, healthy food and warm clothing. Especially knowing that there are people in this world that do not. Ever.

I am even thankful for my fat jeans that I am currently wearing because they make me feel less guilty about the eggnog that I have in my coffee or the fact that Jillian Michaels and I are on a temporary break-up.

Then there are the skinny jeans that I bought at the consignment store that I am trying to be thankful for. I guess I'll be thankful for how cute they are when they are not on me.

Place That I Live
I am blessed to not only live in a country that is free (well, barely), safe (mostly), and prosperous (yikes, getting less so), but I live in one of the absolute best places within that country.
The beauty here is astounding. I am thankful every single day when I look out my front door.
I am thankful for the seasons. Even the pristine, white snow.

Remind me of this 5 months from now when I will be ready to ram my skull into a tree because of all that endless, pristine, white snow.

Happy Thanksgiving.
I am thankful for you, too.

P.S. One last thing. In reading my post, I realize that I must also be thankful for italics.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Memories

Her memory was incomparable.
One could ask why? Or how? And she could answer them confidently.
Because everything matters to me.
The words, the smells, the feelings, the environment.
All of it.

Her earliest memory was around the age of one.
She tried to dig back deeper. And she did find some.
But were they real? Or were they stories turned into pictures, turned into faded slides, that sometimes masquerade as an actual memory? This was always a mystery to her. She could say with stern assurance though, that she could feel the memory of feeling from birth. Does this count as memory? To her it did. After all, what does one have at birth? Feeling.

At one, she sat in her highchair in the kitchen.
She could hear the metal-on-metal sound of the tray being attached, and then the smooth feel of the cool tray beneath her pudgy, dimpled hands. She could smell her mother, dish soap, and the vinyl of the seat of her chair.
What went wrong?
This part of the memory has been lost. Perhaps eaten by time, perhaps sent to a different file.
The memory suddenly changes to one of an angry mother.
Why was she crying? Why was the mother angry?
She remembers not being able to stop. She remembers crying loudly.
Her mother was standing in front of her, soap suds clinging to her hands. Her mother's face contorted by rage. Was it rage? Or was it frustration?
A one year old cannot distinguish the difference.

Then the mother takes a small glass and fills it with water.
She knows this glass. It is the one with a pretty shape, the one that a shrimp cocktail from the A&P comes in. The A&P where that nice man with the black, bushy mustache works. The man that always pinches her cheeks and laughs with sparkling eyes.
The mother puts this glass of water under her highchair and looks at her levelly. She says, with a controlled voice in her lower register, "If you do not stop crying, I will throw this water in your face."

She did not stop crying. Not for 30 years.
And her mother did throw the water in her face.
Over and over and over.

Memory. It is a complicated thing, isn't it?

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Believe


If you have read my blog for any length of time, you will know that I sometimes will include a disclaimer. It is difficult to put words into cyberspace without any body language or tone of voice to make the meaning of the words more exact or precise. So, my disclaimers, more often than not, try to make sure that you, my lone reader (no, not you, the other one), know that I am not crazy, rude or just plain moronic.
This is one of those disclaimer type of bloggings. Here they are:
1. My family would all like you to know that they think I am funny and not serious. They do not believe.
2. I never believed or didn't believe before this thing happened. Completely neutral.
3. I had not been drinking, eating mushrooms, licking toads, or in a sweat house on this day.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, we can get on with it.

I was driving the North Cascades Highway with my kids. It was twilight and just at freezing. And the highway was deserted. We drove about 70 miles without seeing a soul. Just the three of us rambling along at a quick, but very safe pace. We were admiring the changing leaves and wondering if it was going to begin snowing. Okay, I was admiring the leaves. The kids were bickering and touching each other.

Oh, and they were enthralled with the forbidden treat that I let them have in order to buy myself a little peace. Cheetos and Fritos. Yes, sons. Eat this friendly and oh-so-crinkly bag of GMO's.
I know, I know. I go over to the dark side all for 30 minutes of quiet crunching. Sue me.
It was very amusing listening to their conversation in the back seat:
#1: "This one doesn't seem so big."
#2: "I know. Mine aren't so big either."
#1: "Yeah, I don't know what they are talking about."
#2: "Look! This one is a fatty."
#1 "Oh! That is a new bigger size!"
Now it all made sense. The bag said NEW! BIGGER SIZE!

So, while we are driving along and I am making sure that no one is touching anything with those orange, touchy little fingers, I see something that strikes me as not normal. It is about 1/4 mile up the highway on the side of the road. At first, I think that it is a large man wearing dark, winter clothing. This sort of freaks me out, because there is seriously no one around. What if it is a man? What if he flags me down? What will I do? Anxiety wells up.

As I got closer, I had no need to worry. It was clearly not a man.
But just before I got a better look, it slipped down the side of the road into the ravine.
And that was when I knew what I had just seen.
The way it moved was sylphe-like. Almost as if it shimmered away.
I looked back to where it had been, and it had completely disappeared.
So, what was it?
Bigfoot. Or Sasquatch, if you prefer.

Now, if that isn't enough for you, there's more.
About two miles further up the mountain pass, I saw another.
It was a little smaller, but moved in the same graceful manner as it quickly went down the side of the mountain out of my view. The leaves on the tree that it had been next to still gently shook as I drove by.

Are you laughing at me? My husband is.
He says it was probably a bear.
Bears don't just randomly stand up and walk around. And also, very few bears were this big.
He also says that if there were such things, we would have found evidence of them.
I say that if he had seen the way it moved, he might just believe it possible for them to stay completely hidden.

Do I believe? I guess I have to now.
Or I am crazy?

P.S. Did you know that there are many, many stories of a Sasquatch or Skookum among Native American tribes? Particularly those from the Pacific Northwest. If I am crazy, at least I am among good company.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Problem With Wolverines Can Be Solved With a Honey Badger


So, I opened it.

It was nothing that a good Silkwood Shower and scrubdown with some steel wool couldn't fix.
What? You know not of the Silkwood Shower? Well, watch the award winning movie Silkwood for the full effect.
Too busy? Here, read this. Not quite as uh, violent as the real deal. And by violent, I mean thoroughly cleansing in a highly aggressive and vigorous manner

Now that I am raw and a little bloody, but cleansed, I can share with you another method of dealing with that wolverine that showed up on my otherwise pleasant doorstep.
This one comes via my good friend, Jessi.
Jessi and I have been friends for a veeeryyy long time. In fact, if I told you how long, you would fall over. Then you would ask how that is even possible, as we both don't even look that old. We're not. It's magic.

Jessi knows about the wolverine. Probably better than anyone. And she has helped me deal with the wolverine many times before. Like the time I ran away. Sort of. Or the time she pretended to be the wolverine on the phone to keep me out of trouble with the real deal. Or just the good method of making me laugh. Because as Reader's Digest tells us "laughter is the best medicine".

What does Jessi do? She sends me a link to the Honey Badger video. Sure, I had seen it floating around on the internet, but I never watched it. Until last night. And I'm glad that I did. The honey badger will eat the wolverine.
It doesn't give a s***.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know I have to deal with it, but laughing helps.
Having a less than stellar day? Google honey badger video.
Not appropriate for kids or those sensitive to language.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Problem With Wolverines


It is sitting there on the counter. Much like a severed hand would.
Okay, that was a little too dramatic.
How about...
It is sitting there on the counter. Much like a ticking time bomb?
Nope.
It is sitting there on the counter. Like an overdue bill.
Not scary enough.
It is sitting there on the counter. Like a rabid wolverine that made its way into my house. And then jumped (do wolverines jump?) onto my kitchen counter and is now hissing (growling?) at me.
I know I have to do something about it, but really I just want it to go away.
Perfect.

What did my husband bring home from the mailbox this morning?
Saturday's mail.
Scary, huh?
It is if it includes a letter with my mom's unmistakeable handwriting on the envelope.
My husband asks me if I want him to open it.
Not yet.
So, there it sits.
Hissing at me every time I walk by it.

I circle it carefully, like a dog.
Watching it warily, but not exactly backing down either.
I'm considering.
Testing.
Waiting.

It is just a letter. I know this. But to open it, means to go to that place.
The place where my thorn resides.
It is deep down inside. It is mostly healed, mostly forgotten. Mostly forgiven.

What does one do with a wolverine?
Something, obviously.
This would be one of those things that a person can't just ignore.
So, like the dog that I am, I'm going to grab it by the neck and shake it a bit.
Or at least open the envelope.

I'll let you know what happens.
Because I'm pretty sure that whatever happens, I am meant to write about it.
Everyone loves a good wolverine story.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Go Ahead and Judge


I am taking a break from my usual healthy eating to eat this thing that I have been craving for days.
Fall always does this to me. All of a sudden, the thought of eating lettuce makes me nauseous. All I want is something warm, substantial and full of fat. I think this is all because this is the time of year when my dosha gets all out of whack. According to Ayurveda, India's 5,000 year old science of life, my dosha is vata.
Now, I am no Hindu, but I have found a lot of truth in this ancient science.
Right now, my cold vata body wants something to make me warm.
Mmmm... yams, squash, curries, eggnog in my coffee.
And the occasional white trash treat that I just ate.
It has no specific name. And the thought of it yanks me straight back to my childhood.

You see, I learned two types of eating from my mom.
The first was healthy. I didn't have a drink of Coke until I was in 4th grade. That was also my 1st trip to McDonald's. Both were a horrid shock, by the way.
No, for all the cockamamie ideas that my mom put in my sponge of a brain, she actually did okay here. We ate pretty healthy meals and even ate bread from a bakery that baked multi-grain bread in a coffee can. And this was in the heyday of Wonderbread. Eating brown bread was just flat out weird.

This lasted right up until my parents lost it and never came home except to throw some frozen food, a sack of potatoes, and a block of cheese at my brother and I and then drive away again not to be seen for days. Often, that was how we knew that either of them had been home - there was a fresh supply of food.
This was the second type of eating that I learned from my mother - WT (that's white trash).

You see, after my brother and I gobbled up the easy to prepare foods dropped off to us, we had to get a little more creative. My brother's specialty was using hotdogs. He was famous for a boiled hot dog sandwich. Well, famous among the other boys in our neighborhood. He also used cut up hotdogs in his version of spaghetti.
Oh, and they were turkey dogs. Because somewhere, my parents were still pretending to be healthy. That's a bit of sarcasm, in case you couldn't smell it from where you sit.

Hot dogs have always made me want to puke, so I developed my own creative specialty. And this, my friends is the nasty, but so tasty treat that I crave from time to time.
When all that is left in your house to eat are some potatoes (and you have already eaten baked potatoes for days on end), cheese, sour cream, and Bernstein's Cheese Fantastico salad dressing, you create this delight:
1. slice potatoes as thin as you possibly can without slicing off your fingers
2. pour some salad dressing into a large frying pan and heat
3. add sliced potatoes
4. cook until crispy or until a small fire breaks out
5. add more salad dressing as needed to make potatoes extra crispy
5. top with grated cheese and sour cream

What did I call this? Duh. Sour Cream and Cheese Potato Chips.

Today, I tried to replicate this by mixing sour cream with some Italian salad dressing and eating it with some Kettle Chips. Not quite the same, but it worked in a pinch.
Go ahead and judge. I'm cool with it.

Dark Into Light


Have you ever read a book by Mary Karr? She wrote Liar's Club, Cherry and Lit. I think also a few books of poetry. She is very well regarded among literary sorts, as she is a Guggenheim Fellow (I, being uneducated and unrefined, don't even know what this actually is, but it sounds impressive), a Pushcart Award winner (again, I have no idea), and New York Times bestseller author (ah, now we are speaking my language).
I first read Liar's Club and was often moved to tears because of some striking similarities between her life and mine.
And I felt like I could understand her because I knew the place from where she wrote. This is a place of deep pain and wound, one that may get covered up, but always remains a little open.
Like a thorn that remains in our side, but possibly for our benefit.

I am now reading Lit, and again, her story moves me. Our similarities diverge at this point in her memoirs. I am not an alcoholic, despite my great love for wine and margaritas. I have never been divorced. My father, while old, is not bed-ridden. Oh, and I don't live in the educated and highbrow circles that she lives in. But there are still some undeniable similarities even beyond our last names. However, as much as you might want to give me that extra R at the end of my name, it isn't mine. Just one R, please. The Persian spelling. It means "work", FYI. My grandfather-in-law chose it himself after the Revolution when all Iranians were forced to pick last names for themselves instead of being known by their tribe. Mohammed chose to be called Mohammed Work. Interesting, huh? This has absolutely nothing to do with this post though.

Mary Karr has this incredible knack for making me want to write. She stirs up that pain deep, deep inside of me. The kind of pain that is useful for creativity. Pain has a way of doing that. It can make you stronger, it can make you more passionate, it can make you more compassionate, it can make you more thankful, it can make you much more whole. And creativity is part of being whole. Of course, you must be willing to allow the pain for good. Because the flip side of all of that is bitter, vile, small, angry and fragmented.

What I am trying to say here is that I want to write from that place of pain. Not in a poor, pitiful me sort of way. But in a healing and cathartic way. One that puts my story out there to become just ashes in the wind. Floating away into nothingness. Please don't misunderstand me here. I am not sad, depressed, hurting, etc. I just have a story to tell. Mary Karr has made me re-realize this.

Sometimes words just flow out. Sometimes all you need to do is open a valve and out they pour. I started writing with three different subjects in mind, not really knowing what would come out. Maybe for some people it is visual art, for others it is movement, or cooking, or building. Do you need to look inwardly today and find that place in you which needs to come out? Turn on your creative faucet. See what comes out. It might turn something not so pretty into a work of art.

And possibly you too can be a Guggenheim Fellow. Not like me, but like that other Karr. With both R's.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Darkly and Realistically Optimistic


I'm going to tell you a little dark secret of mine.
I am an optimist.
Oh, I have tried and tried to be dark and pessimistic since preteen years.
If you knew me in high school, you might remember my days of wearing only black. This was before emo was even a word (and for the record, Scrabble does not recognize it as a word still). Yes, black trench coats stolen from Value Village, black make-up around my eyes and Peter Murphy on the stereo. Black.
I tried to say that I hated dogs because they were so happy.
I wrote poetry about death and killing myself.
I tried to sleep in a cemetery (but instead, I chickened out).
And I claimed that I would never allow myself to love anyone, because that just leads to pain.

Oh, brother.

Then I decided that I was really a realist.
Just in the middle.
And I hate the middle.

But the hard truth is that I'm an optimist.
I'm not black and dark. I am orange.
I always really believe that things are going to work out.
I believe wholeheartedly in love.
And dogs? I am a bonafide sucker for 'em.
(Are you catching my little plays on words there? Love=wholeheartedly, dogs=bonafide. I amuse myself to no end.)
And while I still enjoy a little 80's music, I prefer to listen to The Cure's Love Song or Love Cats to their more funereal Just One Kiss or Primary.

Really? Who cares?
I am only writing all of this drivel to tell you something very optimistic.

One good thing about getting grey (yes, I can use this spelling because my mom is Canadian, eh) hair is that when hairs pop out in the most strange of spots, they are barely visible.
There you have it.
Optimistic.

P.S. I stole the picture used in this blog from my absolutely beautiful and optimistic second cousin.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Part 2


so, if my heart were ripped open


if that tenuous little string
that bound me
to You
became nothing but ashes
that floated on the wind


if the thin membrane of my heart
had a gash
that were as wide and deep
as the amazon,
what would you see?
what would spill out for the world
to mock, to scorn, to judge?


would it be as a looking glass, alice?


would you see anything of worth
anything of beauty?
anything pure?

only the space that held you.

but in the moment
that the string


that tenuous string
that binds
my heart
to You


succumbs to the fire
and my heart, alone and desperate,
begins to swallow the world,

it stops.
all the universe takes pause.

as You
hold my heart
in your hand.

with your breath upon me,
my heart is healed and whole


You alone knows what it holds


with such tenderness
that I can barely stand
You
who holds my heart in Your hand
weave a string
a tenuous string
made from tears

glistening and as salty as all of the oceans

that binds my heart
to
You.

Part 1


shall my heart be ripped open?

for the tenuous string that binds
my heart
to you

is being held over the raging fire.

hungry flames leap and dance
with a feverish pitch.

coals from the black depths
of Hell
sparked this fire
that seeks to devour
that tenuous string that binds
my heart
to you.

shall my heart be ripped open?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Good Things


There are some things that fill my heart to the bursting point. Here they are in no particular order:

My sons.
These are some good boys. Good. Solid good.
I love watching them ride their bikes to the bus stop in the mornings, backpacks on and a violin case sticking out of the top of Sebastian's.
I love that my self-proclaimed tough boy sleeps with a little stuffed bunny that his 3 year old cousin didn't want.
I love that Bellamy tells me "thank you" for dinner every night, without fail.
I love that he also was thankful and grateful that I bought him 2 packs of new socks.
I love reading A Wrinkle in Time to them and Sebastian asking more about different dimensions.
I love that they both unashamedly kiss me on the lips even in front of their friends.
I love that Sebastian reads labels of containers and knows that high fructose corn syrup is no good. Or that he has playground conversations with his friend about the reasons why we should not buy so many things that are from China.
I love that Bellamy tries and keeps on trying in everything he does.

My husband.
He is a good man.
He wants to improve.
He is strong enough to rethink his position on things.
He is building our sons that best tree house ever.
He adores me.
He knows what is important.

My home and community.
This is a special place.
It is safe.
People care about one another.
It is accepting.
We share knowledge.
The beauty that I see just out my door is staggering.

These are all Good Things.

I originally started out this blog post by writing about Martha Stewart. Because I always think of her when I think of the term "Good Things". And my writing turned quite snarky. It entailed the cult of perfectionism and some funny, but pretty mean examples. You know - perfectly staged parties, perfectly decorated cookies and cupcakes, perfectly seasonal home decor, perfect family, perfect lives. I know all of this because I used to be a disciple of Martha and all of her perfect ways. But I can tell you now, those are not Good Things.
Ask Martha's daughter.
Apparently she wrote a book that ripped Martha a new one.
No big surprise there.
But maybe Martha can fix that new one with her hot glue gun.
Okay, I know that was snarky. Sorry. But it was funny, yes?

What's my point with all of this?
There is so much goodness all around you that you don't need to go creating it.
It is already there. You just need to see it.

P.S. Apparently I have already written about Martha and perfectionism before - here .
What can I say?

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Helpful Tip


Every now and then I remember that my hokey little byline on my hokey little blog here says something about tips. I have been lax in the tip department. I realize this. I think that I have been pretty lax in the funny story department too. In order to remedy this (because I have standards to keep up, you know), I will attempt to give you a two-in-one. Yes, both a tip and a funny. Simultaneously. Get ready. Drumroll, please....

If you have sons, never vigorously reach into their dirty clothes basket and grab a big armful.
Instead, be very careful, knowing that dirty underwear lurks in and among the shirts and shorts.
Dirty underwear in which an eight year old boy might have crossed the line between skid and all-out accident.

What? Everyone thinks poop is funny.
Just not on your hands. Gack.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More On That F Word


Do you see themes running through your life?
If you do, what do you attribute them to?
And if you don't, why do you suppose not? Are you just hurtling all willy nilly through time and space? The ultimate in go with the flow? I'm not saying one is right and one is wrong, because who am I that I could make such judgment? But, I do ponder how one could live and not wrestle with large scale themes.
You know the ones: anger, bitterness, justice, love, forgiveness, trust, acceptance, pride.
Did I leave any out?
Perhaps that real biggie... Eggnog - delicious seasonal treat or disgusting chicken embryo mixed with breast milk from bovine? For the record, I've wrestled with this. Verdict: Eggnog for the win!

In all seriousness, there has been this theme of forgiveness that has been a constant flow through my life. And the strangest thing is that I really have never been one to harbor a grudge. I might cut you off like a rotten foot, but I won't wish for a swarm of yellow jackets to smell your rotten meat and go after you. You know what I mean? Maybe you don't.

So, if you are with me about life themes (wow, I feel like I might be sounding a little Oprahmatic here), what do you attribute them to? God, Universe, Allah, Karma, Flying Spaghetti Monster? Is there something bigger than yourself out there that is weaving that one beautiful thread through your life that you cannot ignore?
When I look at that thread, all I can see is God. Don't tune me out now. I am not going to thump you on the noggin. All I want to do is share. Take it, leave it. But if we fear sharing our beliefs - about important things - have we not lost an important pillar in our society?

Here is an example for you. I used to be Pro Death Penalty. And now I am not. In fact, it now brings me to tears when I think about it. So, what changed? How did I flip 180 degrees in my beliefs? Because people that I respected shared their thoughts with me. My mind is open and I received what they had to say, then I thought about it. It sunk deep into my heart and it changed.
Of course it helped that the discussions were not hostile and were non-accusatory. Name calling closes people's minds faster than those yellow jackets would find that rotten foot that I previously mentioned.

Forgiveness.
I have been forgiven much. How can I not forgive much? And then more?
When I wrote about Facing the Dragon, that was where my forgiveness grew from.
I have been forgiven much.
And here is the kicker. The punchline, if you will.
Several days before my opportunity to forgive, in that story about Mrs. Kim, a friend of mine sent me this verse completely out of the blue. Yes, from the bible.

"Listen to me, you who know right from wrong you who cherish my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people's scorn, nor fear their insults."

When thinking about Mrs. Kim, I also thought about this verse. And I knew what it meant for me. At that particular moment in time. Because I do know right from wrong, and I do cherish the law to love and to forgive in my heart. And I knew to not be afraid, and just do what I knew was right.

Forgiveness.

How I wrote about forgiveness, eggnog, yellow jackets and a rotten foot all in one post, I have no idea.
Life is weird. And then some.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Facing the Dragon


I read something really good the other day.
It went something like this - Forgive the sins of others. After all, what are YOU going to do with them?
How true is that?
Sometimes forgiveness takes a long time.
Sometimes it goes through a bunch of layers.
Most of the time it is an ongoing process and struggle. Because let's face it, it can be enjoyable to hold a grudge.
But it can also be toxic.
I have written quite a few posts about forgiveness. Probably because I think that life boils down to two things:
Love and Forgiveness.
Maybe that is oversimplifying things just a bit.
But simple is good.

I have been trying to write this blog post for days. But the right words just weren't coming. I want to tell you about something really, really good. Something hugely liberating. And something that to some might seem backwards and weird, but to me seems like the rightest thing ever. And all at the same time, I am trying to keep within my subject that I had previously said that I was going to write about. Are you following me?
Then I just re-read what I just wrote - simple is good.
So, I will just keep it simple and you can connect the dots.

If you have been reading my blog, you might know about some of these lawsuits that people have brought against us. One lawsuit in particular had been going on for years and was for a lot of money. Money that we do not have. It finally came to an end in June, with the jury finding us in favor of 2 of the 3 claims. This is good. Not exactly what we had hoped for, but still good.

Now, one of the strangest things about this lawsuit is that the people that were suing us, were still our wholesale customers. They never quit and we never stopped supplying them. Weird, huh?
Over the last couple of years, they fell behind on their payments and eventually racked up a pretty decent sized balance. It was nothing close to what we owe them or their attorneys, but it was still a large amount for them to get behind. Yet, we still continued to supply them.

A few weeks ago, I had to return to working in our business. One of my first tasks was to dig into the accounts receivable and start shaking people down that owed us money. Including these people that sued us. It had been my plan to really put the screws to them. So, I make my first call to the wife. We'll call her Mrs. Kim.
I knew that her English was not very good, but I had no idea that it was really not very good. And it is hard to put the screws to someone when you have no idea what they are saying. Especially over the phone.

But luckily for me, she picks her orders up herself instead of having them delivered. And she had an order sitting at Will Call. So, I put the word out that I should be notified when Mrs. Kim was picking up her order.
The day ended - no Mrs. Kim.
At least not in person. She had been on my mind all day. And I had turned her into a giant dragon in my mind.
Scary, vicious, fire-breathing.

Then the next morning, as I was getting ready to head in to the office, I just knew I was going to see her that day. And I knew that instead of putting the screws to her, I was going to do some bridge building. She was still going to have to pay up, but she could at least walk across the nice little bridge that I was building to hand over the cash. Heh.

Afternoon came. I was in a heated, emotional meeting. The meeting ended, I walked out of the conference room and smack into Mrs. Kim.

Was she a dragon? Hardly.
And here is what happened...
I smiled, greeted her, and took her to a meeting area.
There, Mrs Kim and I talked, held hands and cried.
She told me she was sorry, I told her that I forgave her.
Unlike what I had thought, they had been going through some similar hard times too.
Including having to sell their house on a short sale.
I told her that I would help her and help her improve her business.

Then I talked to my husband and we decided to forgive their debt to us.
So we did.

Three years ago, I would never have done that.
Today I can tell you that the saying "It is more blessed to give than to receive" is hugely true.
You go ahead and connect the dots.